Israel’s inspection obstructs aid delivery to Gaza: US senator

Zeinab El-Gundy , Sunday 14 Jan 2024

Israel’s inspection process at the Rafah crossing is obstructing the aid delivery to the besieged Gaza Strip, US Senator Chris Van Hollen stated after a visit to the Egyptian-Gaza borders.

A fuel truck on the Egyptian side of the Rafah border crossing, drives toward the southern Gaza Strip. AFP


Last week, Hollen, alongside Senator Jeff Merkley, visited Egypt as part of a US congressional delegation, touring Egypt’s border crossing with Gaza.

In statements to The New Yorker on Thursday, Van Hollen said the humanitarian situation in Gaza is “bad and getting worse” amid rising levels of hunger, noting that he witnessed at the border a large warehouse filled with humanitarian goods that had been rejected at Israeli inspection points. 

According to Van Hollen, medical kits used to deliver babies, water-testing kits, water filters, solar-powered desalinization units and tents had been rejected at Israeli inspection points because they had metal poles.

“When one item on a truck is rejected, the entire truck is turned back, and in talking to a truck driver and others, we learned that some of these trucks take twenty days to go from the starting point to delivering assistance,” he added.

Van Hollen said the matter will be raised to the Israeli officials, and a letter will be delivered to David Satterfield– the US Special Envoy for Middle East Humanitarian Issues.

Van Hollen’s statements echoed a comment by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Martin Griffiths late December. Griffiths posted on (X): “You think getting aid into Gaza is easy? Think again.”

Without naming Israel, the British veteran diplomat spoke about how the trucks carrying aid must undergo three layers of inspections before even entering the strip, and there is a growing list of rejected items.



On Friday, Israel’s defence team alleged, at the International Justice Court (IJC), that Egypt is responsible for preventing the entry of humanitarian aid into the Gaza Strip from the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing, a claim that Cairo refuted.

in a statement on Friday, Chairman of State Information Service (SIS) Diaa Rashwan asserted that the Rafah crossing has been open since the start of the crisis in October from the Egyptian side.

The aid trucks, he noted, travel from the Egyptian side to the Karm Abu Salem crossing – which connects the Gaza Strip and the Israeli territory – to be inspected firstly by the Israeli army before being allowed to enter Gaza.

Rashwan also said that Israel controls the quantities of aid entering Gaza, and that is why US President Joe Biden asked Israel to open the Karm Abu Salem crossing to facilitate the entry of aid.

According to the SIS chief, humanitarian truce negotiations that ended with a weeklong ceasefire in November under Egyptian-Qatari-American mediation “witnessed extreme intransigence from the Israeli side in determining the amount of aid it would allow into the Strip” given the fact that it controls the strip militarily.



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